tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 2, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
changing mission in iraq. in less than 30 minutes, the mission will change in iraq. we will bring you the president's speech live. sealing the leak. residents prepare to plug up bp's oil well. after one year in prison, iran says it will not free three u.s. hikers in a prisoner swap. they want the hikers to stand trial for illegally crossing the country's borders. we have reaction coming up. plus lindsay lohan goes from jail to rehab after just 13 days. it's all ahead for you. as we mentioned just a half hour or so from now the president announced that he is making good on his campaign promise.
and norah o. donl is our msnbc washington correspondent. is this some sort of a strategic victory for the president? >> in some ways it is and the white house wants to say this is promises made and promises kept. the president promised that he would have all combat operations over by the end of this summer and today he will check off another major campaign promise. some advisors are stressing this will not be like bush's mission accomplished moment. this will be about reminding not only those who will be at the speech but to the american people that this is about the changing mission in iraq. to a more se vilian role. that's why he is giving this speech at the national convention of disabled veterans in atlanta. they say they want to talk about the progress that has been made in terms of getting to this deadline. the president has pulled 90,000
of our troops from iraq since he took office and there is going be a transitional force of 50,000 that will remain in iraq to train the security forces. they will conduct combat operations and provide security for the civilian efforts. as the president said he wants all u.s. troops out of iraq by the end of next year. >> now we have break news to share. a u.s. judge is refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against president obama's sweeping health care law. the new law requires residents to have health insurance or they have to pay a fine. the commonwealth argued that the mandate was unconstitutional while it was argued that virginia did not have the jurisdiction to sue. more than three months after the oil started gushing out, today could be the day that bp begins to permanently seal its damaged well.
bp plans to begin its so called static kill procedure forcing mud and cement into the well and that will be followed by a bottom skill through a relief well that should be finished about a week or so from now. we are live now from ve nis, louisiana. good morning to you. what's the latest there? reaction to maybe this thing could be a done deal soon? >> well, again, alex, we have been through this before with several other attempts to plug the well permanently. bp and the government are stepping back saying this is what we're going do but not saying this might work eventually. they are hoping though. certainly we will learn more in this shower.
what exactly what the next 24 to 48 hours will bring chl they will attempt to put mud in there and possibly cement if everything goes well. if that goes well in the next week they will attempt in that relief well to permanently seal that and that could take mid to late august before that's complete. they are hoping to get that done before the hagt of hurricane season. >> michelle, i know that yesterday you were on board a boat with doug there. and there have been concerns that once things look good on the surface that bp might pull back on support to the residents of the gulf coast. >> certainly he said they are changing strategy but they are definitely here for the long run. it was a media opportunity to see him out on the water. we did not find much oil in the
marsh areas though there are reports of it being elsewhere. certainly he wanted to demonstrate some confidence in the people out there working and also trying to send a message that bp despite what may be happening with plugging that and the attempt to plug that leak that they are definitely planning to be in the recovery process. the chairman of the house energy sub committee is accusing federal officials of allowing bp to use excessive amounts of chemical disperseabouts to break it up. ed that allen rejected that and so did bp officials. >> the epa asked us to do everything we could to minimize it. we reduced volumes by over 70%.
i think we all worked hard to not use any more than we had to. >> joining me now, director of pe treel yum gee owe science programs at the university of houston. good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> i want to ask you what your greatest concern is about all the chemicals used to break up the oil. is it the amount? the kind of toxin? >> the biggest issue is the amount f one of the things that i am a bit puzzled about is the oil is worse than the dispersant but we seem more concerned about the dispersant. wherever the dispersant is, so goes the oil and the oil has more toxins in it than the oil.
it was used to help reduce the concentration of the oil. >> donald in the wake of tropical storms and the like, there were reports that mother nature was helping to break up all the oil on the surface there. do you think that that is something that can be relied upon at all? and does that break up the d dispersants. they are more volatile than the oil itself. most of it will leave through the atmosphere over a certain period of time anyway. the good side is a hurricane will break up and disperse the oil. sometimes large storm surges and long shore current can focus oil in particular areas where we don't want to see those concentrations. with the tropical depression we
got the good side but not the bad side which was a wonderful thing to see happen. >> we have congressman mark who said that bp carpet bombed the ocean with these chemicals and the coast guard allowed them to do it. what's your reaction to that? >> well, i think early on they might have been carpet bombing but i think near the end they started to look at the national research council's recommendations and make sure they didn't use it unless they could kbet it applied early on. after about four or five hours the oil weathers and then it loses its volatiles so i think they were following the rules closely. >> that means using these must be done with the greatest ef facy at the beginning of the spill? >> yes. for example when they were applying it at the well head that was the way to do it.
>> was that a wise idea? >> as long as its not done too long after it has happenedxd. >> okay. thank you very much. a massive manhunt is underway right now in arizona for two convicted murders who broke out of prison. three escaped friday. this by cutting a hole in the perimeter fence holding two struckers at gunpoint and getting away in the big rig. he was caught after a shoot out in colorado yesterday morning. the others are still on the run and police think they are traveling with the girlfriend who is a suspect in the escape. police believe they are still in
arizona. lindsay lohan is out of jail but she is not free. she was able to avoid cameras early this morning and now she heads to rehab. we are covering this story from lynwood, california. >> reporter: yes, lindsay lohan is indeed a free woman. she was released very, very early this morning. but she didn't go home. here is what the sheriff's department spokesman had to say very early this morning. >> ladies and gentlemen, lindsay lohan was released from custody at 1:35 this morning and per a court order she has been sent directly to her next destination which is a treatment center and she will now be under the supervision of the la county probation department. >> the attorney for lohan had asked for a little bit of
breathing room to spend about 24 hours to spend with friends and family but the judge thought that was a luxury she didn't deserve. exactly where she is is still unclear at this point. some reports say she is at ucla and is others say she could be going to a facility down in newwort beach. it was up to the judge to decide which facility would work best for her. her attorney so far will not confirm exactly what kind of addiction she is being treated for at that fa tillcy. that's the latest from here. alex, back to you. >> thank you so much. we have new details today in the leak of more than 90,000 pages of u.s. military documents. there are reports the prime suspect may have had some help from student ises at mit. we are live now. >> investigators have contacted.
accused and charged in the first leak of a classified video and secret documents to wikileaks. they were scrubbing his compu r computers. experts were looking at everything he did and everybody he contacted. and as a precaution, looking for those who may have ak kated the transfer of any material but so far they are only taking a look. the investigation is still underway. however over the weekend on "meet the press" the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said there are grave concerns about the security implications about putting u.s. troops at risk.
>> a piece of information may seem very innocent in and of skpits a lot of this is old information but being able to net it together, there is potential there that it could be a much bigger impact than as is evident as a piece of information. >> pentagon officials say that the u.s. military is actually taking steps to try to protect any afghan informants who were named in these leaks. the steps are not going be outlined pubically. because as the official said, it would defeat the purpose in our efforts to try to protect them. >> not even going ask. okay. thanks so much. president obama expected to lay out the way forward in iraq. >> should republicans go on the attack or just sit back and
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house democrats are facing a potentially costly reality. both face very public ethics trials for alleged vie lags. increasing just as democratic leaders try to hold on. aaron billings is the deputy. she joins me now. good morning. >> how do you see this potentially hurting the democrats or is this the kind of thing, just two people will not be pervasive party wide? >> i think this is one more headache. they are already on defense as you mentioned.
democrats ran in swix in part in cleaning up the house certainly this is not -- they don't want this. they don't want this kind of attenti attention. >> let's listen now to house speaker pelosi just this weekend. >> we had passed the most sweeping ethics reform in congress. we have to hoild a high standard and none of our personalities is more important than that. >> how does speaker pelosi go about touting her house as being ethical when you have two prominent members facing serious charges. >> she is trying to thread the
needle here. she wants to continue to make the case that democrats are an ethical party and these two instan instances. of course we're innocent until proven guilty. but she obviously wants to separate the party and the party's handling of ethics and these two individual cases. can she do that? i don't know. it's going be tough. on top of everything else, this is one more headache like i said earlier. >> you know, you have heard the old saying that you can't throw stones in you live in a glass house. let's talk about how the republicans react to all of this. do they play it up? go after on the attack? sit back and watch? were well, you know, frankly i am not sure if they have to do all that much. the two cases are getting a lot of attention. when we come back into congress in september, unless there is a settlement reached we will have the ethics trial.
we may see the same for maxine waters. i am sure they are going try to make the broader case. they were going make this a more ethical body? really? have they? this is not something the democrats want to be fighting on p top of an economy that is still struggling and trying to create jobs. you know this is just one more thing they have got defend. >> how do you see this playing out for charlie? >> it will be an interesting few weeks. president obama came out the other day and made a very, in my mind a very thinly veiled push to maybe get him to resign. i am not sure if that was s
going happen. he is going face something. i do not think he will be expelled. but certainly it's really the ball is in rengal's court. this is going be an interesting september. >> sure will. thanks so much. >> thanks. >> president obama will aggredd a group of disabled veterans just a few moments from now. we have got live coverage coming up for you. and iranians officials call for a new trial for the three americans being held in iran. we will talk to a mother about what might happen next. >> so, ah, your seat good? got the mirrors all adjusted? you can see everything ok? just stay off the freeways, all right? i don't want you going out on those yet. and leave your phone in your purse, i don't want you texting. >> daddy... ok! ok, here you go. be careful.
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disabled veterans group gathered there. he will be talking about the plan in iraq right now, how many combat troops will be going home. about 50,000 troops should be left there in tact for a while to help with ongoing operations by the iraqi militaries. the president just mentioned as well that he is going turn 49 this week so an early happy birthday to the president. he admitted the job has brought with it a little more gray hair to him. we will tune in now and listen in. >> by a decorated vietnam veteran, wounded warrior and a lifetime member, my outstanding secretary of veteran's affairs. [ applause ]
disabled american veterans, i valued your advice in counsel when i was a senator and when i co-sponsored the post 9/11 gi bill. you were one of the first veteran's organizations that i called upon when i began my presidential campaign. [ applause ] and as president it's been my pleasure to welcome you to the white house to make sure america is serving our veterans as well as you have served us. [ applause ] and most recently to sign advanced appropriations into law so that veteran's health care will never again be helt hostage to the political battles in washington [ applause ]
i was in the oval office expecting a visit from the dav and in comes bobby carrying a baseball bat. now it's not every day that somebody gets past the secret service carrying a baseball bat. you may have heard about this. it turns out it was a genuine louisville slugger. a thank you for going to bat for our veterans on advanced appropriations. so i am grateful for that symbol of our partnership and i am proud of the progress we have achieved together. as one of your outstanding dav members just reminded me, this is a promise i made during the campaign. it was a promise made and a promise kept. i intend to keep on keeping my promises to the veterans of
america. in the life of our nation, not every generation has been summoned to defend our country in its hour of need. but every generation to answer that call has done so with honor and with courage. among you are members of that generation that save the world from fascism. i was honored to stand with our world war ii vets at normandy last year for the anniversary of d-day. and this year as we mark the 65th anniversary of our victory in that war we once again salute our veterans of the second world war. [ applause ]
this year as we mark the 60th anniversary of that con flicflc will be proud to travel to the republic of korea, i will be proud to travel to pay tribute to our veterans of the korean war. many of you served in the jungles of vietnam. you also served with honor. exemplary dedication and courage, but were often shunned when you came home. that was a national disgrace, and it must never happen again. [ applause ] that's why we are making sure
that our veterans from today's wars are shown the respect and dignity they deserve. [ applause ] is and whether you served in the gulf or fought in the streets or stopped ethnic slaughter in the balkans, you are part of an unbroken line of service stretch ag cross two centuries. now fought to stand again, work again. you fought for each other. and for the benefits and treatment you had earned. you became leaders in our community and our companies and our country. including a former vietnam vet
and senator who reminded us that america's disabled veterans are strong at the broken places. [ applause ] today your legacy of service is carried on by a new jn ratigene of americans. some stepped forward in a time of peace not foreseeing years of combat. others stepped forward i this time of war knowing they could be sent into harm's way. for the past nine years, in afghanistan and iraq, they have borne the burdens of war. they and their families have faced the greatest test in the history of our all volunteer force serving tour after tour, year after year. through their extraordinary
service they have written their own chapterer in the american story. and by any measure they have earned their place among the greatest of generations. as a candidate for president, i pledged to bring the war in iraq to a responsible end. [ applause ] shortly after taking office i announced our new strategy for iraq and for a transition to full iraqi responsibility. and i made it clear that by august 31, 2010, america's combat mission in iraq would end. [ applause ]
as promised and on schedule. already we have closed or turned over to iraq hundreds of bases. we're moving out millions of pieces of equipment in one of the largest logistics operations that we have seen in decades. we will have brought more than 90,000 of our troops home from iraq. more than 90,000 have come home. today even as terrorists try to derail iraq kees progress, because of the sacrifices of our troops and their iraqi partners, violence in iraq continues to be near the lowest it has been in
years. in many parts of the country, iraqis have already taken relief for squurt. as agreed to with the iraqi government we will remain until we remove all of our troop by the end of next year. during the period our forces will have a focused mission supporting and training iraqi forces, partnering with iraqis and counter terrorism missions and protecting our civilian and military efforts. these are dangerous tasks. there are still those with bombs and bullets who will try to stop iraq's progress and we have not seen the end of american sacrifice in iraq.
but make no mistake. our commitment in iraq is changing from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats. as we mark the end of america's combat mission in iraq, a grateful america must pay tribute to all who served there. [ applause ] remember, our nation has had vigorous debates about the iraq war. our pariots who supported going to war and patriots who opposed it. but there has never been any daylight between us when it comes to supporting the more than 1 million americans in uniform who have served in iraq. for more than any conflict since vietnam. these men and women from across our country have done more than
meet the challenges of this young century. through their extraordinary courage, veterans have proven themselves as a new generation of american leaders. while our country has been divided they have faulought as . while institutions have shirked responsibility they have welcomed responsibility. while it was easy to be overwhelmed, the generation that has served in iraq has overcome every test before them. they took the initial charge into baghdad and today we are joined by an infantry there as part of the 101st airborne division, sergeant nicholas bernard is here. [ applause ]
when invasion gave way to insurgency, our troops persevered block by block, city by city. as a driver, this soldier endured constant attacks but never waivered and we thank you, dan. [ applause ] when terrorists and militias plunged into sectarian war, our troops adapted and adjusted, restoring order and defeating al qaeda and iraq on the battlefield. and among those who served in those pivotal days was a scout with the first cavalry division. specialist matt sidle. [ applause ]
for each of these men and women there are countless others, we honor them all. our young enlisted troops and non-commissioned offices who are the backbone of our military. the national guardsmen or reservists served in unprecedented deployments. more women tested by combat than any war in american history -- [ applause ] including a marine here today. patricia? it looks like she is still in high school, but she is a
marine. they, too, have sacrificed in this war. that's why my wife, michelle, and the vice president's wife have made it their mission to make sure america takes care of our remarkable military families including our veterans. now, this summer tens of thousands of our troops in iraq are coming home. last week vice president biden was at fort drum to help welcome back members of the legendary tenth mountain division. families are being reunited from ft. braggg in north carolina to. if reilly in st. louis. in this season of homecomings, every american can show their gratitude to their patriots who
served in iraq. as we do we are humbled by the profound sacrifice that has been rendered. each of the veterans i have mentioned carried with them the wounds of this war. as a nation we will honor forever all who gave their lives. that last true measure of devotion in service in iraq. soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, active, guard, reserve. even as we tend war in iraq, even as we women come home so many of our troops, others are still deployed in afghanistan. so i want to remind everyone it was afghanistan where al qaeda plotted and trained to murder 3,000 innocent people on 9/11. it is afghanistan and the
triable region triable tribal r. al qaeda and its terrorist affiliates would have even more space to plan their next attack. as president of the united states i refuse to let that happen. [ applause ] the effort in afghanistan has been long. and difficult. that's why after years in which the situation had deteriorated, i announced a new strty last december. a military effort to break the taliban's momentum and train afghan forces so that they can take the lead for their
security. in a civilian effort to promote good governance. and deeper cropuation to root out terrorists on both sides of the border. we will continue to face huge challenges in afghanistan. but it's important that the american people know that we are making progress and we are focused on goals that are clear and achievable. on the military front. nearly all the additional forces that i ordered to afghanistan are now in place. along with our afghan and international partners, we are going on the offensive against the taliban, targeting leaders, and training afghan national security forces. [ applause ] our thoughts and prayers are with all of our troops risking
our lives for our safety in afghanistan. and on the civilian front we are insisting on greater accountability and the afghan government has taken concrete steps to put forward a reintegration plan that allows afghans to lay down their arms. and pakistan we have seen the government begin to take the fight to violent extremists within its borders and major blows have been struck against al qaeda and its leadership. because in this region and beyond, we will tolerate no safe haven for al qaeda and their extremists allies. we will disrupt, we will dismantle and we will ultimately defeat al qaeda. [ applause ] we will give our troops the resources and the equipment to get the job done and keep our
country safe. at the same time, every american who has ever worn the uniform must know this, your country is going take care of you when you come home. [ applause ] our nation's commitment to our veterans to you and your families is a sacred trust. to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation, not just politics. that's why i charged with building a 1st century v-8. and that includes one of the largest percentage increases to the va budget in the past 30
years. i proposed a freeze of discretionary spending but what i have not froze season the spending we need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure. so we will keep making historic commitments to our veterans. for about 200,000 vietnam vets who now suffer from three chronic diseases, we are making it easier for you to get the health care and benefits you need. for our gulf war veterans we declare that nine infectious diseases are presumed to be
related to your service in desert storm. for our disabled veterans, we have eliminated co-pays for those of you who are cat trofkically disabled. we have kept our promise on concurrent receipt by proposing legislation that would allow severely disabled veterans to receive your retired pay and your va disability benefits. it's the right thing to do. we dramatically increased funding for veterans across the board. that includes improving care for women veterans. for those vets who have lost their eligibility we are restoring your access to va health care.
and since the rumors continue to fly, even though they are wrong, let me say it as clearly as i can. the historic health care reform legislation that i signed into law does not, i repeat, does not change your veteran's benefits. the va health care benefits that you know and trust are safe and that includes prosthetics for disabled veterans. thanks to advanced appropriations, the delays for funding are over. and jus as though delays were unacceptable, so too are long delays in the claims process.
so the secretary is working overtime to create a single lifetime electronic record that our troops and veterans can keep for life. and today today i can announce that for the first time ever veterans will be able to go the va website, click a simple blue button and down load or print your personal health records so you have them when you need them and can share them with your doctors outside of the va. that's happening this fall. [ applause ] we're hiring thousands of new claims process to break the backlog once and for all. and to make sure it couldn't come back we are reforming the claims process itself with new
information technologies and a paperless system. got an amen over here. as a result of the innovation competition that i announced last summer, our dedicated va employees suggested more than 10,000 new ways to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy. and we're already putting dozens of these ideas into action. additionally, we're enabling more veterans to check the status of their claims online and from their cell phone. as a next step we are opening this competition to entrepreneurs and academics so the best minds in america can help develop the technologies to serve our vets, including those of you with multiple traumatic injuries and we'll keep at this
until we meet our commitment to cut those backlogs, slash those wait times and deliver your benefits sooner. this is a priority. and we are going to get it done. [ applause ] we're making progress in ending homelessness among our veterans. today on any given night there are about 20,000 fewer veterans on the streets than there were when we took office. but we're not going to be satisfied until every veteran who has fought for america has a home in america. [ applause ] we will not stop. [ applause ] finally, we're keeping faith with our newest veterans returning from afghanistan and
iraq. we're offering more of the support and counselling they need to transition back to civilian life. that includes the g.i. bill to help them and their family members achieve the dream of a college add occasion. for veterans trying to find work in a very tough economy, we're helping with job training and placement and i directed the federal government to make it a priority to hire more veterans including disabled veterans. and every business in america needs to know our vets have the training, they got the skills, they have the dedication, they are ready to work and our country is stronger when we tap the incredible talents of our veterans. [ applause ] for those coming home injured, we're continuing to direct unprecedented support to our wounded warriors in grournenera.
the best care available. for those who can we want to help them get back to where they want to be with their units. that includes service members with a disability who still have so much to offer our military. we're directing unprecedented resources to treating the signature wounds of today's wars. traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder and i recently -- i recently signed into law the caregivers and veterans omnibus health services act. it not only improves treatment for traumatic brain injury and ptsd, it gives new support to many of the caregivers who put their own lives on hold to care for their loved one. [ applause ]
as so many of you know, ptsd is a pain like no other. the nightmares that keep coming back. the rage that strikes suddenly. the hopelessness that's led too many of our troops and vent rans to ta -- veterans to take their own lives. to anyone who is suffering, don't suffer in silence, it's not a sign of weakness to reach out for support, it's a sign of strength. your country needs you. we are here for you. we are here to help you stand tall. don't give up. reach out. we're making major investments in awareness, outreach and suicide prevention. hiring more mental health professionals. improving care and treatment. for those of you suffering from
ptsd we're making it a whole lot easier to qualify for v.a. benefits. if a v.a. doctor confirms a diagnosis of post-traumatic disorder that's enough, no matter what war you served in. [ applause ] these are the commitments my administration is making. these are the promises we've worked to keep. this is the sacred trust we have pledged to uphold. to you and all who serve. i want to make special mention of a truly inspiring american. staff sergeant cory remsburg. that is unfortunate right there, everybody.
i believe we lost the signal for president obama. we had been told we had a 25 minute speech to broadcast for you and it went just a little bit over that. let's talk right now very quickly with our military analyst who joins me from washington. general, the president was quite proud to say that he made that promise to the american population that he would be bringing home all the combat troops out of iraq by august 31st and he's doing it as promised and on time. how significant is that from a military standpoint? >> well, i think the draw down in numbers, alex, is extremely important. by the end of the summer we'll be down to 50,000. given the build up in afghanistan that's essential. we simply couldn't support two major deployments out of today's army and marine corps. having said that, look, iraq is in trouble. we had 36,000 killed and wounded. there's no government. and in theory we're out
completely by the end of 2011. so the iraqis have a huge problem, will they end up in all out civil war or can they pull together some form of governance. >> general, thank you very much for that short debriefing if you will, sir. i have my feeling contessa brewer may ask you to stick around. contessa is here at the top of the hour. >> we'll talk to barry maccaffery. and why is the fbi searching for this balding middle aged man. he's known as the grand dad bandit. lindsay lohan may be a free woman but you won't see her hitting the hollywood scene any time soon. details on what's ahead for the young actress. stay with us.